KU's Sophomore Point Guards
Could Frank Mason or Conner Frankamp have the kind of impact that Marcus Paige did in his Sophomore season? I took a look at different Point Guards around the same ranking as our very own Conner Frankamp to see how he or Mason could stack up and what I saw was actually very encouraging! My reference’s were Phil Pressey, Payton Siva, and Quinn Cook. I truly hope our guys make that sophomore jump that these guys did! After looking at other examples of starting sophomore PG’s I am actually far less worried about our point guard status than before. You should go check out these examples and put in your 2 cents…
@Statmachine I expect both Mason and CF to make big leaps this year. They are a great pair as their best attributes are much different. Mason is obviously an incredible athlete who can get into the lane and hopefully he will have improved on his ability to pass and not shoot as much as he did last year. CF is a pure shooter who just needs enough time on the court to get hot. If no one else has said this on here yet, you heard it here first…CF is going to have multiple games this year where he hits 5-7 3’s in a game. The guy is automatic but just needs to be lose and in the flow of the game. There is nothing harder than a shooter coming in cold off the bench and being asked to knock down shots.
I have delayed making this comment a few months, because I haven’t had a hat big enough for what it probably would make come down.
But your post is such a fresh angle on what we’ve all been dry washing about this summer that I now feel emboldened to journey outside the box.
Before I do, I do agree that between Frank and Conner we should have the bases covered with most PGs. The tall ones will be a problem, however, because they may force us to guard them with Selden, and if the opponent has a long, active 2, the pain locker could be open in a hurry.
Nevertheless, having a super dynamic point guard on offense is ONLY important if the rest of your talent requires you to play up tempo and penetrate from the point in order to optimize it.
If you have a bunch of dynamic athletes, good trey shooters and an imposing big, or two, then you can slow it down to whatever speed your PG can play under control at and beat down opponents at positions 2-5.
Without putting too fine a point on things, last season, Tharpe was perhaps the weakest, most uneven performing PG ever to start for KU post WWII. But KU still won a conference title and very likely would have gone to the Final Four had Embiid not gotten injured.
Great point guard play is a frequent ingredient of championship play, not because it is absolutely necessary in order to win championships, but rather because, unlike top notch big men, which only come along about half the seasons, top notch point guards show up almost every season. Each year there seem to be a half dozen, D1 point guards capable of leading a point guard dominant team to a ring. But at least half the seasons there are no big men capable of dominating and leading a team to a ring. The other half of the seasons, there are, at most, one, or two, big men capable of dominating and leading a team to a ring.
What this implies is that without a dominant big man, you have to have truly dynamic point guard play to go deep and be a threat for a ring. But with a dominant big, you can get by with an average point guard, so long as he is quick enough to guard the dynamic PGs he will face.
Agreed. I just wish I could articulate points of view as well as others on this site.
@JayhawkRock78 you do fine! Or well, or good?
Nice topic … this clearly the most interesting battle this fall. Self added Graham, and there was a lot of chatter, mostly by national guys, that he would be our answer. He might be.
But I expect Mason to seize the job. First, Mason has “it.” He is tenacious, he has no fear, and he has tight handles. But more importantly, he learned. We saw it. He had some horrible performances. But he learned. By the of the season, he wasn’t driving recklessly into the trees. He was dishing with greater purpose and efficiency. He was more under control. And his three point shooting improved.
I think the battle is between CF and Graham for another rotation spot. I simply haven’t seen Graham in action. But I favor guys who have been here, and CF, based on his solid play at the end of the season, might have a leg up.
One thing I do expect … assuming we add a top perimeter player in our recruiting class, or Selden or Oubre don’t turn pro, I expect either Mason, CF, or Graham to transfer. One of them. If Selden and Oubre turn pro, and we don’t add top perimeter guy, there’s room for all of them.
@HighEliteMajor I hammer on this every single time the drive issue surfaces with any PG, so forgive me if I sound like a stuck record. Your other guys-mainly the 4 & 5 spots HAVE TO FILL THE PASSING LANES !! If they.re just standing still & not making their moves when the penetration occurs, the PG runs into the damn trees. Timing is EVERYTHING & without it the small penetrator is Groucho bisque (duck soup). This really needs to be Perry’s breakout year as he’s been in Self ball long enough now to know. Just a small pivot to create a good angle is enough, but you have to do it at the split second, correct time to get your defender out of sync. Maybe the coaches can entice Mick or Cliff or Jamari or Lucas to figure this out too. That PG must also have sharp enough court (peripheral)) vision to see the angle too, but for me, if the supporting cast is not on the same page, it makes even the most fearless PG look ball-hog selfish or just plain stupid to most untrained eyes. JMO
U sed it bedder than me!
What ever talent level you have at PG, the 2-5 guys have to be able to be get to spots and fill the lanes that the PG’s abilities permit him to service effectively.
Ability to play TOGETHER–to dance well TOGETHER–is paramount in a team game!!!
Last season Mason still had the mentality that he was playing HS where he was a volume shooter/scorer that could out-run, out-jump and out-shoot 99% of the opposing players and opposing centers/bigs were typically 6’-6" or shorter. Big time college is quite different. Most guards will be taller, equally fast and they can jump and shoot reasonably well. Driving blindly into the paint with no open man get you surrounded by very tall players that will block your shot more often than not. Collins was the same way when he started, he would use his speed to run to the base line only to get trapped. Mason showed improvement throughout the season and once he realizes that his job is not to be the primary scorer (like in HS) but a distributor/facilitator he will do fine.
Frankamp is a fundamentally solid player but he does not have the physical tools other players have so this will always be a disadvantage that he can partially compensate with smart play. Although we saw flashes at the end of the season, the jury is still out on whether he can create his own shot; regardless, plays can be set up to take advantage of his three point gun, much like KU did with Boschee (different coach, different system); although Boschee was perhaps the better athlete and faced less competition.
Graham is the biggest unknown. Physically he is better suited than Mason or Frankamp but we really do not know much about him. Svi is also a big unknown but I don’t believe anyone is expecting to contribute immediately; he will likely be a big contributor on his sophomore year…although he could well be the ace up the sleeve, you never know.
Spot on post!
I’m expecting a lot from Mason this year. That kid has ice water in his veins, and eventually it does come down to that. He wants the ball at crunch time. Now with a year under his belt he will have a better understanding of what to do with the ball. You are right, he did bring in his HS game to Kansas… but… that’s what players do until they learn to play Kansas basketball.
I believe Frank will be one of my best cases supporting x-axis basketball. To make the action happen laterally instead of vertically. The game is there, always, and it is every bit as entertaining to watch happen when a player knows how to create scoring (or passing) space laterally than vertically. Frank has the mentality (and body) of a pitbull. Pitbulls don’t lose many fights.
Conner’s game is a 180 from Frank’s. That is refreshing to have so much contrast, and also it will create opportunities for us… like when we go up against quick little guards then Conner has to know how to score on top.
Graham is the unknown, and I’m glad he doesn’t have a mentor guard ahead of him. I’m ready to see guards have to figure things out for themselves and find their own game instead of mimicking our typical starting PG. It seems we just lifted a big burden from past years because everything was falling into that type of mentorship which created a sort of enabling unhealthy relationship. Of recent our PGs didn’t develop their own unique style of play, their own resilient toughness and last (most important) their own ability to lead because they spent years following around another PG.
I’m ready to watch 3 PGs get out there and hustle on their own, prove their own worth, be totally self-made men!
I’m friggin’ excited to get this rollin’ again!
@globaljaybird I think you make a good point. From the PG perspective, my pet peeve is when PG’s don’t deliver the ball when the defense helps on penetration – the Tyshawn Taylor blinders. When a defender or defenders move to help, the PG has to have the knack to drop the ball to the open player. And, importantly, the PG has to understand the correct type of pass given the situation – it is what made RRob and Chalmers so good. When they penetrated, they delivered the right type of pass given the situation. On penetration, I think the best perspective for a PG is to look first for the dish, and second for his own finish. TT never did that. He was “shoot first” come hell or high water. I think this really limited his effectiveness throughout his career. My hope is that Mason will continue his trend of becoming more of the distributor.